Colorado & Utah 2019:
Day 2 - Grand Junction


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Colorado and Utah 2019: [Day 1 - Steamboat Springs] [Day 2 - Grand Junction] [Day 3 - Moab] [Day 4 - Moab] [Day 5 - Cataract Canyon] [Day 6 - Cataract Canyon] [Day 7 - Boulder] [Day 8 - Denver] [Day 9 - Denver] [Day 10 - Denver]

Sunday, May 19, 2019: Going to bed early means waking up early, so we were wide away by 7:00 AM. We were staying in Elisa's room while she stayed in the study next door.
Baxter was there to greet us when we came out.
Jim found a map of the river trip we'd be taking several days later, and he shared his memories of being on that same stretch of river.
Jim has done a lot of river running, so he was familiar with the sections of both the Green and Colorado Rivers shown here. We'd be traveling this stretch of Colorado River.
Other Tom and Dianne joined us shortly afterward, ...
... and Baxter was glad to see his buddy.
Nancy is the queen of canning peaches and making jams, so it was cool to see her stash of canned goods.
We had a nice mountain view as we enjoyed a breakfast of ...
... delicious pumpkin waffles.
Shortly after 10:00, we were ready to head out for a little sightseeing.
We headed into the mountains to visit Fish Creek Falls.
Signs warned us of mountain lion activity, but we never saw any.
It was a beautiful morning for an easy hike to the falls, just visible in the distance here.
We passed lovely yellow glacier lilies.
We reached the falls ...
... and took about a million pictures of it, ...
... and of us.
Macalester College Represent!
And now, the family portraits. We had gotten some popcorn butter on the lens while passing the camera around at the brewery the night before, which explains the soft focus on Debbie's hair in this photo. We finally figured it out many hours later, so most of this day's photos have a slight blur to them.
Here are Elisa, Baxter, Nancy, and Jim, our wonderful hosts for the weekend.
And here are ...
... Dianne and Other Tom, who would be hosting us a week later.
This interesting plant is called skunk cabbage.
These little flowers are arnica cordifolia, commonly known as heartleaf.
Baxter enjoyed a drink of fresh water from a mountain stream.
It was 11:15 when we returned to the parking area and this cool wooden shelter.
Jim and Elisa took off for skating practice while the rest of us drove through the foothills of Steamboat Springs checking out the houses we'd love to own someday.
Everyone's taste was a little different, so we all had our own favorites picked out.
Look at all that beautiful glass, wood, and stone. The view must be stunning too. Alas, we checked our pockets and didn't have several million to spend on it.
Golf cart crossing!
We stopped by the beautiful Strings Music Pavilion to see where Nancy works.
The logo is displayed on the pretty stone floor.
Here's a cute wooden bench right inside.
This lovely venue is home to many concerts and performances throughout the year.
This sculpture is right outside.
Next, we headed to the Steamboat Ski Resort. Flags lining the road highlighted the many Olympians who have called Steamboat Springs home, including Corky and Ray Heid, Winter Olympics ski jumpers in 1956 and 1960, respectively.
The area is pretty deserted in mid-May.
Let's go!
This statue of Jack Daniel looked quite dapper in his new sunglasses, even if they were just a little bit broken.
This area was surrounded by shops, bars, ...
... and highrise buildings.
Baxter! Look! There's a magpie!
There isn't much snow left on the ski runs.
Yes, that is a rollercoaster in the middle of the ski lift area.
Baxter did his very best to make sure that his entire pack stayed together. When we drifted too far away from each other, he came and rounded us up.
Like kids peering into a candy store, we checked out the real estate listings posted in this realty's window.
Yes, a castle in the woods sounds lovely. But at $4,195,000, it was a bit out of our price range and interest.
As we departed, Dianne explained to us that the metal stairs are designed this way to provide traction in the winter. She had already dubbed us "flatlanders" since we weren't used to the elevation, and now she added "non-skiers" to our description. Fair enough.
We drove past very Colorado-ey looking stores ...
... and appropriately-named condos.
We crossed the Yampa River again to return to Howelsen Park, ...
... but this time, we were there to visit the ice rink, ...
... where Elisa was practicing her ice skating.
By 12:30, we were passing Natural Grocers, where Jim works, ...
... and the Rabbit Ears Motel with its distinctive neon sign.
By 12:45 PM, we were saying our goodbyes because we had a lot of road to cover. Dianne and Other Tom packed up their trailer to head back to Denver.
We passed Space Station Gas on our way out of town, ...
... plus this lifesize elk sculpture in West Lincoln Park.
Buh-bye, Storm Peak Brewing!
So we're driving ...
... and we're stopping. One of the great pleasures of a road trip is stopping at wayside markers. This was the former mine sites of Mt. Harris.
Here's a sign for Yampa River State Park. Clearly, we need to spend way more time in this part of the country because there is so much to see and do.
This wayside sign told us all about the early settlers in this land.
We arrived in the town of Craig around 2:00 and we were starving.
Look! A train car! No time to stop.
KFC and Taco Bell together - a fast-food dream come true? We considered it but held strong, ...
... because Nancy had recommended that we try Los Jilbertos Taco Shop.
Our attempt to order at the drive thru was thwarted by way too many delicious choices, so we went inside instead.
It was much easier to eat inside as well. One wrong move and all of this tasty food would have ended up all over the floor of our rental car. We were in and out of there in 25 minutes. The food was really delicious and we brought some of it along with us to have for dinner later.
Our drive to Grand Junction took us through lots of scenic countryside.
We spotted pronghorns fairly often, but they were difficult to photograph in time.
Our original plans called for an early dinner in the historic town of Meeker, but our feeding schedule didn't work out.
Here's the Meeker Hotel, ...
... with the Meeker Cafe right next door. Next visit, perhaps.
This area of the country does love its wildlife sculptures. Here's a mountain lion posing majestically.
This scenery is beautiful, ...
... but not as beautiful as this, 90 minutes after consuming a large Diet Coke with lunch. We got used to these outhouse-style rest areas, and were happy that we had packed a lot of wetnaps.
The coloring in the exposed rock hills was striking.
Here's the scenery near Rifle, Colorado (elevation 6345').
The Western Star Motel featured a great neon sign.
We passed a lot of marijuana dispensaries. Being from a state where it isn't yet legalized, it was quite a novelty to see.
There's that Colorado River again. Must be following us.
Yep, it sure is.
We passed the James M. Robb Colorado River State Park.
It was starting to look way more canyon-y than mountain-y now, just a few miles outside of our destination for the evening, ...
... Grand Junction. Check out their cool logo.
It was 5:00 PM when we checked into the Econo Lodge. The very first thing we did upon arrival was to find out if they had HBO because we had deliberately arrived in plenty of time to watch the Game of Thrones series finale.
We headed back out to buy some groceries and spotted another Airstream at a nearby gas station. Just one more night until our chance to stay in one!
Safeway wasn't far away and we were ready to throw money at it.
We weren't hear to buy any seafood, but with a display this beautiful, we almost did, despite having no way at all to cook it.
We considered buying some beer to bring on our river trip but decided against it, a decision that turned out to be a good one. Instead, we picked up some Diet Coke and snacks.
We were in horse country, as shown by this roadside art ...
... and these large horse sculptures.
For reasons defying understanding, the Game of Thrones series finale wasn't going to be broadcast until 9:00 PM on the hotel's HBO, so we fired up our laptop and streamed it on HBO GO the moment it became available at 7:00 PM instead. With a single episode as important as this one, we had to watch it live. And we did. Then we went immediately to bed because we had a very early morning alarm set.

Day 3 >


Colorado and Utah 2019: [Day 1 - Steamboat Springs] [Day 2 - Grand Junction] [Day 3 - Moab] [Day 4 - Moab] [Day 5 - Cataract Canyon] [Day 6 - Cataract Canyon] [Day 7 - Boulder] [Day 8 - Denver] [Day 9 - Denver] [Day 10 - Denver]

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